The Faces of Humanity

All major human conflicts are essentially what Jonathan Swift called the war between the “Big Endians” and the “Little Endians” in Gulliver’s Travels. In Swift’s novel, Lilliput and Blefuscu are island nations ruled by emperors. Those from Lilliput broke boiled eggs on the larger end, while those from Blefuscu broke their’s on the smaller end. Swift’s readers at the time would have recognized that his metaphor suggested that the British political parties at the time, the Whigs and Torys, were fighting a war based on minuscule and inconsequential differences. That appears to be a common theme in human history: Most . . . → Read More: The Faces of Humanity

Stuff That’s On My Mind

The original impetus for this article was the North Carolina Bathroom Bill. I am writing this from the perspective of a male who has been sharing bathrooms with women all my life—not always at the same time, of course, but most of the time, people use bathrooms one at a time. There are exceptions, of course. Public bathrooms (airports, highway rest stops, restaurants, and other public places). If you have ever flown anywhere with a woman, you know that when people exit the plane, men enter the men’s room, take care of business, and exit. In all likelihood, the female . . . → Read More: Stuff That’s On My Mind

Earthquakes

By now, you undoubtedly know about the devastating earthquake in Nepal. You may not have heard, however, about the earthquake in SW Michigan. Earthquakes come in all sizes, from the huge and deadly to the minor shake-ups. Michigan’s earthquake was a minor shake-up. When I was growing up in California, we had numerous minor quakes. Even though they always came as a surprise, we learned to recognize them for what they were. After I had grown up and left, California experienced at least two serious quakes with extensive damage and some deaths, one in northern California and one in southern . . . → Read More: Earthquakes

In My Family…

An old story whose origins are unknown to Google is about a relatively newlywed couple who wanted to divide chores evenly having weekly arguments about whose turn it was to mow the lawn. Other household tasks weren’t a problem. The husband had his responsibilities, the wife had hers, and each was comfortable with the assigned tasks with the exception of lawn mowing. They had agreed to take turns but had trouble tracking whose turn it was from week to week. After months of arguing about whose turn it was to mow the lawn, the wife blurted out, “In my family, . . . → Read More: In My Family…

Yes, No, or It Depends?

In some ways this blog entry ties back to my previous posts on Choice Points: “Forks in the Road” and Evidence Procedures. One of the things I have been noticing about recent political debates is how often people, and perhaps especially politicians, seem to be absolutely sure of so many things.

Bell Curve

In statistical terms, when we measure most populations on most scales (such as height, weight, IQ, education, age at death, etc.) the result is the familiar bell shape of Pareto’s Law.

It make sense: Some people are really tall, some are really short, and most . . . → Read More: Yes, No, or It Depends?

Evidence Procedures

In NLP, one of the central Metamodel questions is, “How do you know?” An honest answer to the question provides information about a person’s “model of the world,” which is essentially a “reality strategy”—the way people decide what’s real. In most cases, what we think of as “real” is more accurately a “belief,” in some cases with very little in the way of supporting evidence. Most beliefs begin, of course, with some evidence in the external environment. Through the natural processes of deletion, distortion, and generalization, beliefs that have a logical beginning can become increasingly distorted over time. One of . . . → Read More: Evidence Procedures

Coping with Complexity

In a recent article, Spencer Critchley discussed the difficulties a number of “conservative” Republicans are having coping with the complexities of the modern world. The part of his essay that caught my attention is the following:

The truth, as usual, is complex. But complexity is what the right-wing historical revisionists don’t like. They prefer to reduce it to binary choices of right-wrong, good-evil. We see this on the extreme left, too, where some argue that because the founders did not extend full rights to slaves, women or Native-Americans, they were no better than any other white, male oppressors. For . . . → Read More: Coping with Complexity